There was not a tear to be found in Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen Saturday although the evening marked the finale of a 22-year run in River Oaks Shopping Center. In fact, there was an air of celebration as Phyllis and Tony Mandola filled the place with balloons and toasted the future, which begins on Wednesday in temporary digs on Westheimer at the so-called Tony Mandola's Miracle Restaurant. (That Wednesday start date depends on various connections — gas, Internet, etc. — that are scheduled to be made today.)
A party atmosphere prevailed as long-time customers poured in to bid the mecca for Texas-Cajun cuisine adieu. Rose and Harry Cullen, Reed Morian, Terri and Andy DiRaddo were among those in the late crowd. Trini Mendenhall Sosa, Frank Sosa and Mary Bergeron dropped by for after-dinner drinks.
Among those packing the place was Gregory Fourticq at a raucous table that included Randy Powers and Bill Caudell and Rosie Meyers and Tony Gonzalez. Karen and Mike Mayell popped in for a farewell drink after dinner earlier while Stephanie Bundage and Danilo Juvane had dinner at the packed bar.
Not real twins
Blanco's rocked with an enthused crowd on Friday night when "birthday twins" Leslie Bennett and Tim Moloney celebrated at the honky tonk with a posse of friends. In between two-steppin' around the dance floor, guests had all eyes on the flat-screen TVs and Cotton Bowl action, where Texas A&M duked it out (unsuccessfully, of course) with LSU. None were more attentive to the gridiron action than Laura and John Spalding.
The high-energy revelers included Greggory and Patrick Burk, Kara and Aaron Howes, Leigh Williams, Courtney Hopson, Caroline Starry LeBlanc and Jared LeBlanc, James Glassman, Melissa and Michael Mithoff and Erin Florescu.
Bennett had family support including her mother Nicole Bowlin, her brother John Bowlin and her son Alexander.
The San Remo Room at Tony's looked more the art gallery than party room on Friday night when artist John Ross Palmer presented his latest series Landscapes, Abstracts and Short Stories in a special presentation underwritten by early Palmer collectors David and Lamar Douglas. The paintings on wood panel were all done with the historic egg tempura technique, the old-world stye of color use employed by the likes of Michelangelo.
Guests sipped adult beverages and noshed on caviar, crab cakes and mini sliders while perusing the works. Mingling through the gallery-style scene were Barbara Van Postman, Diana and Brad Wander, Patrick Evans and Rachel Prinze, Christine and John Spin, Carolyn and Harry Rosenthal and hosts Donna and Tony Vallone.
A number of Palmer's paintings hang in Tony's and Vallone's Café Bello on Westheimer. At Vallone's Ciao Bello on San Felipe, Palmer not only provided paintings but also did a colorful mural, La Piazza, for the enclosed patio.
The Primavera Room of The Grove was chock-a-block with heavy-hitters on Thursday when friends toasted Michelle Mitchell and her tenure as the city's finance director. She took the post in 2006 under Mayor Bill White and stepped down only recently to pursue professional interests in the private sector. City Councilwoman Ann Clutterbuck hosted the get-together.
Among the well-wishers were former Mayor White, City Councilmembers Melissa Noriega, Stephen Costello and Brenda Stardig, First Southwest Bank's Mike Bartolotta and a host of Bill White City Hall staffers including Ann Travis, Michael Moore and Richard Lapin.
Also in the mix were City Controller Ron Green and acting finance director Kelly Dowe, appointed by Mayor Annise Parker.
City Controller Ron Green lunching with energy exec Ramon Manning at La Griglia on Monday where the VIP crowd included Steve Lasher, Haag Sherman, Sharon Adams, Nancy Golden, Cathy Echols, Lora Clemmons and Richard Fant . . .
Say Yes to the Dress star Randy Fenoli in the wine cellar at Tony's where wedding consultant Joann Woodward of Schwartz & Woodward hosted a gala dinner in his honor in conjunction with the Bridal Extravaganza that took place over the weekend. Woodward tapped Nadine Moon of Who Made the Cake! to create edible wedding dress cakes as place card holders for each guest . . .
Denise and Sam Malone lunching at Grotto 610.